[2011 Recap] Highlights Part 2

Bonded more with family

Bonded More With Family

This year, I made my Dad cry.

Prior to June 19, 2011, I never saw my Dad cry. Not a single tear. It’s not that he’s stoical, but I think since my Mom does the crying of them two, he ought to stay strong and hold back the tears. Dad always remained calm, cool, and composed even in the face of problems. His threshold of tears must be high, I suppose.

Until, of course, I and my brothers exceeded that threshold with a presentation.

Two weeks before Father’s Day, I secretly planned two musical numbers to be performed by me and my brothers, Josh and James. Forgive me Bruno Mars and Kelly Clarkson, but I altered your songs’ lyrics to suit our message for our Dad (“Just The Way You Are” and “My Life Would Suck Without You”). My siblings and I capitalized on the minutes and hours our Dad was out of the house to practice our trio number.

June 19, 2011, Sunday.  Before having breakfast, I whispered to my Mom my plan and asked her to take a video of our number. Casually, I borrowed Dad’s DSLR, saying “I would just look at something.” I was certain he did not sense a surprise coming up because his reaction to our number was priceless.

I signalled my brothers to stand up and position themselves as we have rehearsed. For about eight minutes we sang our hearts out, with my voice crackling and occasionally sounding off key because I struggled to hold back my tears. After we sang the last note of “My Life Would Suck Without You,” we paused and watched our Daddy give in.

That was one moment I shall never, ever forget. I did not expect the tears because as I’ve mentioned earlier, I (as well as my brothers) never witnessed Daddy cry. Father’s day went better than expected.

Unable to suppress his joy, Dad shared his experience with his 600+ friends on Facebook with a note (the only one he’s made so far):

“Today shall be considered one of my best days in my life. I have cried this morning, tears of joy of course. My children gave me a song & dance presentation not once but twice. I usually get a greeting during this occasion but today it was so wonderfully different….After their presentation I embraced them tightly while I was crying. My wife Jean started to cry as well then she told me she has not seen me cry again until today. Also we had a great bonding time with our relatives and loved ones, eating together, laughing together, enjoying the moment as we speak of plans for the future.  And before I go to sleep I will read the lovely letters given to me by my children. As I sat down here at home I could’nt help but to thank my Father in heaven for giving me another day to experience all of these. Thank you Father God for allowing me to become a father, to receive the kind of love you yourself would want us to have. I love you Father! God is good!”

The memories and moments that followed that Sunday further strengthened our relationship as a family. No matter where God leads us, we are full of His joy, peace, and grace because He is good. I am even more grateful that God allowed us to spend time together in picturesque places such as Boracay and Balay Indang.

We are imperfect. In fact, yesterday, each of us recounted the times we hurt each other and individually asked for forgiveness. But you see, the beauty behind imperfection (and pain) is that it allows God’s grace to overflow our lives, filling the hollow cracks that were caused by our own sinfulness.

Drew closer to God

I have a confession to make.

My relationship with God is the hardest and most uncomfortable of all my relationships. Many times I am lost in the sea of confusion; sometimes I don’t know if what I’m hearing is from me or from His Spirit. The desire to unwaveringly love and serve Him is never constant so when it reaches an all time low, I usually succumb to my old, sinful self. If you’ve been a Christian for quite some time, you’d understand. I would utterly disdain my 2011 if it were not for Yahweh.

God is one of those precious few people in my life who love me in spite of my failings and never lets me go even as I suffer the consequences of my wrongdoings. When I worked my way to win Him over because I thought I was not good enough, He looked at me compassionately. Finally when I gave up, He embraced me, reassuring me that there is nothing I could do or will do that will diminish His love for me. Nothing.

He never ceased to speak to me and nudge me, reminding me of who I am in Him and the consequences I shall face if I disobey His command. Openly He rewarded me when I followed His leading; likewise, He disciplined me when I followed my selfish desires.

My Papa Sheph (short for Shepherd) heeded my prayer when I asked for discernment so that I can make the best–not just good–decisions. God also withheld many of my desired ‘what-if’ situations so that my heart would be guarded. Indeed, He is the Keeper of my heart, however deceitful it might be.

Best of all, He filled me with joy. He enables me to live my Lifeline with joy, and only He can do that because He has overcome death and sorrow. 🙂

Grasping my Papa’s hand tightly, I shift my eyes away from 2011 and look forward to 2012.  I am excited because I know God will work mightily in me and the lives of my loved ones.

I want to end this post (and year) with a verse. Each year that passes brings God’s family closer to this promise’s fulfillment:

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.

-Revelation 21:8

A joyful and blessed 2012 to you! 🙂

On Passion and True Love

When was the last time you saw a romantic movie that exemplifies true love? (those with vampires don’t count)

What is true love, anyway? Now I know man, for centuries, has attempted  to concretely define L-O-V-E, so I won’t join in my specie’s futility. I’ll change my question, then: What are the evidences of true love? What actions must be undertaken, characteristics be seen, and consequences result when true love truly is at work? Again, these questions I posed can generated hundreds of answers from many different perspectives. For now, I shall focus on a principle interrelated with love: passion.

During Bible class  in my senior year of high school, my teacher asked the class to give a word close to passion. My classmates and I answered similarly: “desire,” “dream,” “love.” With my head held high, I thought I fared well in the question and answer portion. But my teacher shook his head. He waited for us to cease fire before he said:

“Passion equals suffering.”

I did not know that. Suffering did not even cross my train of thought. My ignorance was probably to blame, and partly, the world’s distorted take on passion…and love. In many movies, to be “passionately in love” with somebody means that you and your “somebody”–single or married–are having sex at an all time high. Songs promote looking for “love,” or should I say, lust in clubs and parties, then after finding it, head straight to lovemaking. Where did suffering go? It need not go anywhere because it did not exist in the first place. It was pleasure who hogged the spotlight, numbing consciences and guilt because “love is not supposed to hurt.”  Well actually there is suffering–suffering painful consequences, that is. STDs, unplanned pregnancies, and broken marriages are some of the devastating consequences of momentary pleasures that were mistaken for “passionate love.”

What did my teacher mean when he said passion equaled suffering? When you are passionate about a sport, hobby, belief, or person, you are willing and committing to brave life’s storms, wildernesses, and mountaintops. When you are passionate about living a healthy lifestyle, you choose Greek yogurt with fruit over a cup of Ben & Jerry’s and momentarily endure the criticisms of your friends who are “living and enjoying life.”  There’s always a give and take, a drawing of the line between good and bad, better and best. It’s a line that I’ve been asked to draw today, and at first, I felt more inclined towards the bad. 😐

The command was quite simple, actually: fetch your brother from school. That was the task of our helper, but since she accompanied my grandmother to a shopping spree, I was the only remaining candidate at home to do the deed. Time was two in the afternoon, the weather, not too warm and sunny (in short, masarap matulog [perfect time for sleeping]). In my head, I crossed my arms and shook my head because I did not want to fetch my brother, but instead, wanted to sleep and continue reblogging posts in Tumblr (which I should be forgoing).

As my mind and heart struggled, I pondered on the many, many times I told my brother, “I love you.”  Most days were full of glee, humour, and thrill so saying “I love you” was uttered with ease. But how about this time when every inch of your being screams, “I DON’T WANT TO ACT IN LOVE?” “I love you” will fall on deaf ears.

More romantic movies should show scenes of boyfriends and husbands struggling with lust,  sexual temptation, or raising their voice in anger towards their female partners. The idea that feelings are the basis of true love should be antiquated. An others-first philosophy should replace the I-deserve-to-be-happy mantra. Pleasure must step down and turn over the microphone to priorities.

Thankfully, by God’s grace, my story did not end with the struggle. As always, God saw me through the struggle (although I complained, and I wish I didn’t). Eventually I obeyed my mother’s orders and fetched my brother from school. On my way to his school, I prayed for the strength and power to love and to “please my brother for his good, leading to edification” (Rom. 15:2). When I arrived in my brother’s school, the struggle ceased and my heart relaxed. I walked on the straight and narrow path once again. 🙂

Love does not automatically come with passion. Both–love and passion–must be decided and acted upon. You can have sex day in and day out and still not show true, passionate love. If we want to love, we must be prepared to be stretched, tested, and burned. That is why I look up to wives who stay by their unfaithful husbands; spouses who care for their bed-ridden other halves; teachers who exercise patience towards unproductive students; pastors who gently care for unlovable flock, and parents who continuously reach out to a prodigal child. They know what true love really means because they live it out every.single.day. They also challenge those of us, including me, who casually say “I love you” to people we see everyday–friends, relatives, and most especially, family–to love passionately. To suffer long. To do what is right, not what feels right.

If ever you’re looking for a movie on true love, I suggest you see this film. His love is the best love you will ever find. And if you seek it, surely you will find. Actually, He will find you. 🙂


Forever Not Alone

A cool evening from Manila, ladies and gents! 🙂

I must admit that over the past few days, I totally forgot about my blog. Not that its memory has been erased off my mind completely, it’s just that the idea of posting and encouraging my lovely readers never crossed my mind.  Effect of a loaded schedule, I  suppose. I have so many things to share with you guys, but because you only have a few minutes to spare, I must break down this post into the biggest internal experience that I went through this week: two oppositely-charged emotions and my tumultuous journey with them and most importantly, their Maker. 🙂

The journey began two Saturdays ago. I went to Jzone as usual, wanting to share the Gospel, hoping to bond with friends, and expecting to meet with my fellow Sunday school teachers for our presentation the next Sunday, that is, yesterday. I only got to share the Gospel, which went well–praise God! 🙂 Two new ladies have been added to God’s big and wonderful family. Unfortunately, my teachers attended a meeting which ended while I was already attending the service in Jzone so I missed the meeting. Most of my closest friends in Jzone were absent and friends who were left behind proceeded to their planned dinners and rendezvouses. Needless to say, I was

I am no stranger to loneliness, whether in a bad sense or a good one. However, last Saturday’s loneliness dwelt more on the bad side. Negative emotions and past struggles haunted me slowly, one day at a time. Worry, the meanest of them all,  spearheaded the homecoming. Am I too weird? Maybe I should be more interesting. But I don’t know what to say. If I focus on my God-committed plans (God has been nudging me about planning), I might be too work-focused and in the process, compromise my relationships. These thoughts fueled my desire to seek for things that I subconsciously hoped would relieve me of my loneliness–eating, watching television, 9gagging, reading all sorts of books, and posting supposedly eye-catching statuses on Facebook whenever I so desired. It turned out food did not completely satisfy, laughter was not the best medicine, and entertainment was far from being the joy expert. Suddenly it was first year, first semester in college all over again.

After worry came self-centeredness.  And even though I did not admit it to myself at that time, I acted with this thought in mind: What am I supposed to do to push loneliness away? The answer I found from the world seemed favorable: pleasure. Watch a movie. Eat and be merry. Spend hours on your favorite social networking sites. Eat some more. I grew increasingly insecure of my body, weight, and condition as a child of God. I did not know it that time (which was only last week), but God led me through the wilderness (thankfully my journey lasted only a week and not 40 years).

Because I was full of myself, my heart could not contain the love and patience the people around me had to offer. That was so, until I relented a little. I texted four close people to pray for me (just like I did last year during my 1st semester in college). And again, the one who went to me and consoled me was my mother. She visited me in my room, laid beside me in my bed, and asked and waited patiently for my honest response. I fumbled for the right words to say, but I realized the most important thing to do then was not to be right but to be true to how and what I felt and needed. Tearfully I admitted my feelings of loneliness and hopelessness with unfulfilled plans (especially regarding exercise and healthy eating).

Honestly, I expected Mom to say something like, “You’re going to be okay.” Well she did, but not until she said her timely and unexpected response.

“Your feelings of loneliness? Okay lang yan. (They are okay)”

Loneliness is okay?

“This is the best time for you to spend time with God.”

She recounted the stories of the first Christians in the Bible who were chained and imprisoned. “Mas malungkot yun, kasi sa kulungan wala ka talagang kausap.” (It’s sadder to be inside a prison cell because there you have no one to talk to) Loneliness, instead of removing their worth and joy, brought them closer to God and strengthened their hearts for service.

Our conversation lasted for more than half an hour, and although my heart was not completely healed after that, I definitely experienced relief. 🙂 Bouts of loneliness and worry lingered in the shadows for the rest of the week until the seminar I attended on Saturday.

Agnes Sarthou Ph.D spoke to a group of women on finding and living out God’s purpose. Mrs. Sarthou is the wife of one of CCF’s pastors, Pastor Ricky Sarthou. Years ago she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. Instead of succumbing to depression and human strength, she yielded to God’s control and love and allowed Him to work mightily. By the grace of God, she was cured! She now inspires people, particularly cancer patients and survivors, to know and love Jesus Christ because He loves and cares for them. 🙂 Aside from sharing her story with us, Ms. Aggie also shared with us her life purpose: to love and serve her God all the days of her life. To love, submit, and be a blessing to her husband. To love and care for her children. To train people excellently. And then afterwards, she asked us to do the same: Write out your life purpose.

That’s when it hit me: I lost track of my purpose. Instead of pleasing God, I pleased myself. No wonder I was so depressed! After clearing my conscience before God, I wrote my life purpose, and in one sentence, it is this: to love and serve my Heavenly Father, Lord, and Savior all the days of my life, denying myself, taking up my cross, and following Jesus. 🙂

God changed my perspective regarding loneliness. It’s not a negative state that  one should avoid entirely. In fact, when you’re alone, there is nothing and no one that stands between you and God, and that for me is the best state. To just stand before Him and be moved by Him. Many people fail in their relationships because they thought being in a relationship means escaping loneliness. Loneliness, I learned, is vital for growth. Alone time is essential. Jesus Christ did not muster the strength to keep calm and carry on by perpetually bonding with His family and disciples; He withdrew intentionally to the wilderness to be alone with His Father from Whom He gained real and lasting strength, Besides, with God speaking to me, I’m really not alone. There is a time to bond and be with people as well as a time to be alone and bask in the presence of the Living, eternal God Who will never leave you or forsake you, whether you are in green pastures, the valley of the shadow of death, or the wilderness.

If you are a bonafide child of God, regardless of your situation, you are always safe in the Father’s hands. 🙂

PS: On a totally unrelated note, I cut my hair! New hair, new vibes! 😀 hihihi What do you think?

Sembreak Part 2: ONE Retreat

The following day after my classic vacation in the breathtaking island of Boracay, I went to Tagaytay for another 3-day retreat, this time with more than 400 college and fresh grad students. If Boracay enthralled me with her turquoise-pearl like waves, amber and baby blue sky,  and smooth, granular sand, CCT Tagaytay impressed me with her air-conditioned, blowing winds and pollution-free air which I deeply inhaled every chance I got. (Friends of mine shared this sentiment, too. We immediately missed the cool air of CCT a day after arriving in Manila :D)

As much as I enjoyed the abiotic factors of the retreat, I treasured the spiritual component even more. I was unable to bring home a bag of Tagaytay winds back to Manila, but Spirit-filled, action-compelling memories and insights I was able to.

One of those insights dwelt on the subject of Master–knowing and following your ONE and true Master. On the first night of session 2, Pastor Jonathan Fenix exhorted us wisely:

“Entering into a relationship is entering into a relationship of authority and responsibility.”

Unless a woman willingly submits herself to her boyfriend (and future husband) or a child to his parents, a healthy, growing relationship between the parties cannot exist. No wonder a lot of us fail and give up on our relationships. The problem lies not in people being difficult, but in people resisting submission to authority.

Another of the most memorable insights from the retreat I learned the following day, from Mr. and Mrs. Hans Pe. The beautiful, fit, and Godly couple taught us principles on waiting and preparing for our Mate. “Wait actively, not passively,” they told us. But what I liked the most  about their message (even if it wasn’t my first time to hear it) was when they suggested that we do: create a non-negotiables list or a set of character traits and values our GB (God’s Best) must have. Frankly I haven’t started actually writing down my non-negotiables list, but when asked, I can mention more than 5 qualities in less than 30 seconds. What are those 5 qualities, you may ask? (not that I’m looking for a GB now, but…it’s good guys know what I want HAHA)

God-fearing, filled with the Holy Spirit, loves his family, passionate about the Kingdom, and generous. (I might post an exhaustive Non-Negotiable GB list soon! watch out for it! :D)

I heard a saying: “Lessons are best learned outside the four walls of the classroom.” In ONE retreat, the saying applied, too. By God’s grace, He gave me the opportunity to again lead a group of girls. Eating, sleeping (in the same room), talking, bonding, and sharing stories and secrets with them even for just 3 days taught me things I wouldn’t have learned elsewhere. Listen eagerly. You don’t have to know everything. Every lady reflects beauty uniquely, in a way only she can show and no other. Juzstine, Daisy, Denise, Pauline, and Pat were receptive to God’s message for their lives, and I was thankful to Jesus for their company. 🙂 They endured me singing the Nescafe cliche jingle “Good morning sa inyoooooooo!” while looking out our room’s window. Eh kasi naman yung overlooking scenery mala-haceinda ang dating. 😀

(L-R) Pauline, Denise, Pat, Juzstine, Daisy)

Aside from sharing my time and life with five ladies, I was also privileged to testify before my brothers and sisters in Module 2. Sobrang nakakakaba to the highest level of levels at pinipigilan ko pang umiyak (I was so nervous to the highest level of levels and I kept myself from crying), but God’s grace and hand carried me through my 5-minute, ala-fairytale speech (according to a friend). May I preserve my testimony not by might, but by the Spirit of God! 🙂 Likewise, friends of mine also shared their testimonies and I was also moved to the highest level of levels! What amazed me was that they were far from who they were in their sinful past. I wouldn’t have known Michelle Aquino, a testifier and friend of mine, used to be anti-authority until she shared her sans-Jesus past because when I headed our teaching group last summer, she was so submissive and cooperative! I praised God all the more. 🙂

photo c/o Billie Gonzales Thanks dear!

The retreat was the venue of 2 of my “firsts” (excluding the fact that it was my first time in CCT :D): first time an invited friend actually came (Myvee Lusterio, praise God for you!) and first time to dance to a Christian song with choreograph and lots of people. o_____________o I usually just dance by myself (and you wouldn’t want to see me if I were you) or at home as exercise, but not in public. But God said (through Tin Advincula, superbly talented dancer), “Dance!!!” So I’m like


Moving on.

Having organized a largely populated retreat for the first time, the admin team and other committees did a really swell job. Although the retreat was flawed, it served its purpose well: to unite college students in seeking God and His righteousness. When God’s grace fills the hearts of many, you just seem to overlook the imperfections and dwell on the fruits bearing from consistent walks with Jesus. Some of the people in the retreat just started their walk, others have been walking for some time now,  but we enjoyed our Savior right where He brought us. I met new people who made me smile, laugh, think, blush (in a good way hahaha), pray, and even ask God for forgiveness (when  I looked at how they lived their lives and saw my sinfulness). Mas masaya talaga pag madami hindi dahil mas madaming gwapo o maganda (pero totoo talaga yun), kung hindi dahil mas madaming channels of blessing si God. (Ang paghahanap ng GB hindi sa college retreat, kung hindi sa singles. HAHA joke lang #pretendyoudidn’treadthat) Kidding aside, the energy of the 400+ people (a quarter of which are hyper 99.99% of the time) intensified praise and worship as well as competition in the session games and the Amazing Race.

Joe and his evil banana :))with Myvee! 🙂another rainbow! It appeared when we stopped over in Caltex

To summarize the retreat, it was ONEderful and ONE that glorified our Master and touched the lives of many. Our collective prayers were granted to us–not because we pray intensely, but because our God works mightily. I didn’t want to leave CCT Tagaytay so soon, but my Master prepared a Mission for me in Manila. I returned home, and the family I kissed goodbye when I left Friday morning greeted me jubilantly Sunday evening.

Until the next life-changing retreat! 🙂

Thank You so much, Father. :>

Photos courtesy of the talented and beautiful volunteers of Safelight, Jzone’s photo ministry, and my iPhone 🙂

Watching God Be Awesome

OLA! 🙂

I know I have some explaining to do for my absence for more than a week, and it is this:

FINAL EXAMS. o________o

Surprisingly, the ill-treated “hellweek” did not seem like hellweek at all (at least to me) because I went out almost everyday with family and our balikbayan relatives from Australia. (For foreign readers, a balikbayan is a true-blooded Filipino who currently resides in a foreign country but goes home every once in a while–usually every few years–to spend vacation) The arrival of our relatives, the Dela Peñas, is the surprise news my Mom told me about 2 weeks and I shared with you guys in this post. Their vacation and my finals week falling on the same week is no coincidence and would teach me how to balance my time well.

Saturday, October 8,2011

Our relatives, the Dela Peña family, arrived from Sydney! The parents of both families are making the most out of the Dela Peña’s 2-week vacation and our (that’s me and my bros) 2-week sembreak so I’m stoked! Since our balikbayans arrived at night, we all reserved our extra energies for the next day.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Apparently the Filipinos abroad are more eager to watch noontime shows than most Filipinos living in their native land. Or maybe that’s just our family. Actually we do watch noontime shows (in fact our day won’t be complete without laughing to the antics of  the famous triumvirate Tito, Vic, and Joey and an emerging trio Jose, Wally, and Paolo) so obviously I’m talking about the show of the opposite network. 😀 For the sake of our balikbayans who are avid TFC fans, we went to the studio of ASAP Rocks for a live show.

Luis Manzano ❤ hihi, Bb. Pilipinas-Universe 4th Runner up Venus Raj, Kim Chiu, and Jericho Rosales

Kitchen Musical stars Christian Bautista and Karylle getting their groove on

Robi Domingo and Enchong DeePrincess of All Media Anne Curtis-Smith

Biggest Loser Philippine Edition grand finalists. Larry, the guy in the middle, is the grand champion. He lost about 114 pounds, man! 🙂

Birthday boy Erik Santos

the Dela Peña fam–Tita Melissa, Tito John, Jaemie! (Jed’s not seen here though)


Although the show wasn’t finished yet, we left at exactly 3 PM, prompted by our growling stomachs. 🙂 Dad (who took all these beautiful photos–thanks Dad!) drove us to Rockwell. A balikbayan escapade would not be complete without savoring scrumptious Filipino meals, so we opted to eat at Cafe Via Mare (which did not disappoint). The food was truly worth the wait.

the adorable Jed

Later that evening, we brought the Dela Peñas to Greenbelt while our fam headed to CCF to attend the evening service. 🙂

Monday, 10 October 2011

The following morning, I attended my last lecture in Finance class. By the way, last Tuesday (October 4) we went to the Money Museum at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) which was fun. The trip inside the museum was not the funnest part; rather, the 10-minute walk from Harrison Plaza to BSP Gate 6 under the scorching 1-PM heat with my classmates. Thankfully I brought my Dad’s old iPhone with me that day to document our adventure. Again, thanks to my ever doting Daddy for bringing me, Chynna, Ate Jen, and Shai to BSP! I love you Dad!

that’s our professor right there levetating. Did I tell you he was the Vice President of his bank? 😉

(last 2 photos c/o my professor, Ron Reyes)

After the tour, I walked to Dad’s office located across CCP. Good thing I remembered the way there from the route of the Manila Bay Clean-up Run (only that time I wore rubber shoes. Heels aren’t so comfy to walk around with especially in Roxas Boulevard asphalt). Since I hadn’t taken my lunch yet, Dad treated me to Pancake House in Harbor View! Yay! I was so hungry I forgot to take a photo of my bacon and asparagus pasta, but I did take a photo of the yogurt with sliced walnuts. 🙂

Dad was such a gentleman that day (well, he always is). After treating me to lunch, we walked back to his office where he parked his car then he brought me to school since I still had one class in the afternoon. After my class, he called me and told me he’ll pick me up so we can go home together. 😉 Thanks, Dad!

Going back to  Monday, I received the 1st awesome news of the week. After accounting class, my professor called out a few names, one of which is mine, and ordered those people to remain. As the uncalled people left, I noticed that the remaining classmates of mine were the smart ones in accounting. I can’t believe I’m actually part of this group! When the last uncalled guy classmate left the room and closed the door, we remained silent and waited for our professor to speak. He broke the silence with these 6 sweet as honey from the comb words:

“You are exempted from the finals.”

I COULD NOT BELIEVE MY EARS. Accounting–of all subjects! 🙂 Although I did not get a flat 1 (but not lower than 1.5), I was overjoyed. I won’t get to take the final exam and still pass the course with a high grade! It was the break I prayed for. With the activities that surrounded me upon the arrival of our balikbayans, I did not know how to fit Finance + Accounting + Programming + Psychology + Statistics into my schedule in less than 7 days! But thank God He removed one subject of my list, and that was good enough for me. 🙂

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Allergic rhinitis attack! From my experience, only a 1-hour sleep either in the morning, afternoon, or both cured my incessant sneezes. Last Tuesday, however, my remedy did not seem to work. So from the moment I woke up until we and our relatives went to Star City that evening, I sneezed, wiped and pressed my nose, and sneezed again from time to time. 😐 Nevertheless, I enjoyed riding the roller coasters with Jaemie, but I wished the rides were as extreme as the rides in Six Flags in the US.

the My Binondo Girl-inspired ride 😀

Finally Dad had a photo! With Tito John

with Colo the iguana

After doing some shopping, screaming and laughing through 2 horror houses, laughing some more in the various rides, and posing for hundreds of photos again shot by my Daddy, we hungered for FOOD. 😀 KFC it was!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

I missed Psychology class because we relaxed ourselves in the newly opened ACE Water Spa in Kapitolyo Pasig. I enjoyed every minute of our relaxation! The facilities were clean and pleasing to the eyes. I especially loved the rainfall acupuncture. It did not hurt at all! What you do is you lie face down on the “bed,” placing your neck on a wooden pillow. (The facilities, by the way, are pools so we wore tight bathing suits) After pressing the button, torrential waters pour on your back and hind legs for 2 minutes. Jaemie and I also spent some time in the heated pools and the sauna after which we splashed our bodies with ice cold water. Unfortunately we were not permitted to bring cameras inside the spa so weren’t able to take photos. I do recommend ACE Water Spa for those of you who are looking for fun ways to relax! (There’s also one in Quezon City)

Later that evening, I hosted a talent show in my high school with my cousin, Miko. The talent show was inspired by Pilipinas Got Talent so my cousin and I were tasked to host ala Luis Manzano and Billy Crawford style. Since we hosted inside a church–Baptist to be exact–I don’t think we could not completely do justice to the superb hosting of the male celebrities. Nevertheless, we did well. Praise God! 🙂

Yesterday I took a break from the events and focused more on reviewing for pending final exams (I still have one exam this Saturday). Next week, sembreak officially begins! I cannot believe my parents would let me go to Boracay with them and my retreat in one week. Since the supposed vacation to the Visayan island fell on the same dates as my retreat, they let me choose: Bora or retreat? That was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, but I knew I had to put God first so I the retreat. This week, however, my parents rescheduled the Bora trip so that I can go to both trips! Woohoo! 🙂

While I spent some time alone in ACE Water Spa, I thought about everything I have been receiving this past week. “Lord, You are so good to me. I don’t deserve any of this.” Truth be told, there were days when I set aside my quiet time with God, thinking He’ll understand. Yet here He is, blessing me in ways I don’t expect. Why?

Because of Who God is. He is gracious. Also, He fulfills His promises to my parents when He said that He’ll bless them when they walk according to His ways, a command my parents are faithfully keeping. God is a lavish Rewarder. When the parents are rewarded, expect the children to receive some of the blessings as well.

I knew I had to change my response. Earlier this morning, I recommitted my heart to Jesus, letting Him take all of me. Peace and joy instantly filled my heart.

I look forward to the coming days not just because I’ll be having fun and spending time with family and friends, but because I’ll get to see God work marvelously even in the simple things. I’m always on the watch for His awesomeness. 🙂